Manufacturing in 2030: The Shape of Things to Come

**This event is waitlist only for in-person registration. Virtual experience still available!

The year 2030 may seem far away, but it is coming fast. To compete in an increasingly digital global industry, manufacturers need to understand the trajectory of key demographic, economic, technology, leadership, and workforce trends.

Given this mandate, the MLC is debuting Manufacturing in 2030: The Shape of Things to Come as a one-of-a-kind event dedicated to empowering manufacturing executives to think long-term about the future of their businesses by embracing bold ideas that will lead to winning strategies.

In line with the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s core philosophy of enabling manufacturers to “Imagine a Better Future”, the Manufacturing in 2030 event is the official launch to our ongoing Manufacturing in 2030 Project that will not only enable manufacturers to imagine, but truly create a better future.

Join us in New Orleans to learn more about the Manufacturing in 2030 Project and to collaborate with your fellow executives as we look to what 2030 may bring. Engage throughout the day with content focused on the mega-trends that will reshape the world by 2030. Explore new technologies on the horizon, discover what the virtual manufacturing enterprise of the future will look like, and understand what skills and competencies will define future manufacturing leaders. And, most importantly, hear from and network with some of the best minds in the industry.

Manufacturing in 2030 is not designed for those comfortable with the status quo. Are you ready to create a better future?

Please note that our agenda is set to Central Time (CST).

Sessions noted with an asterisk are included in the virtual experience. 

Wednesday, December 8

6:00 p.m. – Welcome Networking Reception: Flavors of New Orleans

Network, engage and enjoy cocktails and conversations with fellow event participants as you enjoy the tastes of some iconic New Orleans dishes.

Thursday, December 9

8:00 a.m. – Registration and Breakfast

8:45 a.m. – Welcome*

Jay Timmons
President and CEO
National Association of Manufacturers

9:00 a.m. – Opening Remarks*

David R. Brousell
Manufacturing Leadership Council

9:15 a.m. – Megatrends: The World in 2030*

Dr. Mauro F. Guillen
Dean, Cambridge Judge Business School
Professional Fellow, Queens College
Author of “2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything”

What are the megatrends that will drive business, markets, work, society, and economies by the end of the decade?

10:00 a.m. – Panel: Manufacturing 2030 and Beyond*

Moderator: Paul Tate, Co-Founding Executive Editor & Senior Content Director, Manufacturing Leadership Council


  • Dr. Detlef Zuhlke, Honorary Board Member, SmartFactory-KL; retired Professor for Industrial Automation / TU Kaiserslautern; Member, MLC Board of Governors
  • Dr. Jim Davis, Vice Provost, Information Technology and Chief Academic Technology Officer, UCLA; Member, MLC Board of Governors
  • Stephan Biller, CEO and Founder, Advanced Manufacturing International

The manufacturing industry has been on a 10-year journey so far with Manufacturing 4.0. What has been accomplished and what’s on the road ahead?

10:45 a.m. – Networking and Refreshment Break

11:00 a.m. – The Next Transformative Technologies: Redefining Possible*

Dr. Stefanie Tompkins
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

What technologies are being worked on today that could influence the future of manufacturing? DARPA, which for more than 60 years has made pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security, is working on a host of future capabilities that could impact manufacturing in the years ahead. Among them are AI, quantum sensing and computing, microelectronics, and even bioengineered systems. This session will provide insight into relevant DARPA programs and how they can help the U.S. continue to lead the world in driving innovation.

11:30 a.m. – Beyond Operations: Digital Business Transformation for the Enterprise*

Felipe Bezamat
Head of Advanced Manufacturing Industry, Strategy & Operations
World Economic Forum

With manufacturing operations serving as a role model, what are the opportunities and challenges for digitizing the entire value chain of the manufacturing enterprise and, in the process, creating new business models for the future?

12:00 p.m. – Pre-Luncheon Networking Reception

Join us in the foyer for some casual appetizers and beverages before we dive into conversations on the future in our networking luncheon.

12:15 p.m. – Networking Luncheon: Conversations on The Future

Join us for networking roundtables hosted by Industry Leaders, covering topics including, but not limited to:

  • Autonomy and AI in The Factories of the Future
  • The Virtual Enterprise
  • Collaborative Ecosystems – Internal and External
  • Circular Industrial Sustainability
  • Human/Digital Collaboration
  • Innovation in the New Smart Industrial Era
  • The Future of Leadership

1:30 p.m. – Panel: Future Visions from the Front Lines*

Moderator: Paul Tate, Co-Founding Executive Editor & Senior Content Director, Manufacturing Leadership Council


  • Doug Bayer, Global Senior Director, Manufacturing Innovation and Capability, Procter & Gamble (4 Lighthouse awards)
  • Brian Peters, CMO, Protolabs (one of latest 2021 Lighthouse award winners)
  • Paul Mefford, Senior Director, Strategic Projects and Change Management in Operations, Dow

What do Lighthouse award-winning executives envision as the next dimension of value for their businesses in 2030?

2:15 p.m. – Panel: The Workforce of the Future: A New Era of Human/Digital Collaboration*

Moderator: David Brousell, Co-Founder, Manufacturing Leadership Council


  • Dr. Julie Shah, Professor, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Paul Wellener, Vice Chair, US Industrial Products & Construction, Deloitte
  • Gardner Carrick, Vice President, Strategic Initiative, Manufacturing Institute

By 2030, digital competencies will empower the workforce. How should manufacturers plan their skills inventories and how should workers expect to interact with AI, robots, and other digital technologies?

3:00 p.m. – Sustainability and The Circular Economy*

Rebecca Teeters
Senior Vice President, Fluorochemical Stewardship, Corporate R&D
In conversation with Dr. John Banovetz
Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer and Environmental Responsibility; Senior Vice President, Innovation and Stewardship

Is this the next big opportunity for manufacturing? How will industrial sustainability initiatives and Net Zero decarbonization targets define and drive operational strategies by 2030?

3:30 p.m. – Networking and Refreshment Break

3:45 p.m. – The Future Manufacturing Leader*

Dr. Joe Dettmann, PhD
EY Global Corporate Purpose, Culture and Leadership Effectiveness Solution Leader
Ernst & Young LLP

What talents, traits, and behaviors will manufacturing leaders need to succeed in 2030?

4:15 p.m. – Interactive Session: Future Directions

What are the conference’s thoughts, insights, and recommendations for how to create a better future for manufacturing by 2030?

5:30 p.m. – Manufacturing in 2030 Networking and Cocktail Reception

7:00 p.m. – The MLC’s Manufacturing in 2030 Conference Concludes